The NCAA awards scholarships and grants for further education to college athletes who demonstrate outstanding academic and athletic achievement. To qualify for the scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade-point average of 3.20 and have been a member of a varsity team; Amer easily surpassed that with a 3.84 grade-point average. Recipients also must intend to continue academic work beyond the bachelor's degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.
Amer, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was a four-year starter on the CC men’s soccer team, helping to anchor CC’s defensive effort that ranked first in the conference with 11 shutouts. He started all 80 games and was the recipient of several Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and United Soccer Coaches awards. Read more about Amer’s soccer career here.
“This honor is well-deserved for Keenan,” says Greg Capell, senior associate athletics director. “He has been a tremendous athlete, scholar, and leader over his four-year career. Keenan is an example of how well the members of our soccer team balance academic excellence with athletic success. All of us are extremely proud of what Keenan has accomplished.”
Amer plans to follow in the footsteps of his late grandfather and father, both of whom are doctors. He took advantage of opportunities to gain first-hand experience in the medical field, working as a research assistant with Eric McCarty, chief of sports medicine shoulder surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, as well as volunteering in the emergency unit at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs.
In addition to his normal class load, Amer conducted independent research with Associate Professor of Organismal Biology and Ecology Emilie Gray, studying the Aedes aegypti mosquito and its reproduction in response to pesticides.
“I am extremely humbled to have received the scholarship and I think it is really important to emphasize that this wouldn't have been possible if I didn't have such a great support system of teammates, academic advisors, and coaches who have been there for me throughout my four years here at CC,” says Amer. He also notes – and thanks his parents – for making the four-hour drive from Santa Fe to Colorado Springs to attend every home game.
“Keenan has always applied his strong work ethic to all of his academic pursuits, and he is most deserving of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship,” says Scott Palguta, head coach of the men's soccer team. “I'm so grateful that he chose Colorado College and allowed me to coach him these past four years.”
Nationwide across all NCAA divisions, only 29 scholarships are awarded for both men and women from each sports season (fall, winter and spring).
Amer notes that during his time at Colorado College, he has had influential role models such as Max Grossenbacher ’16 and Soren Frykholm ’16, both of whom also were recipients of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. “They really inspired me to work hard both on and off the field and so it’s awesome to be able to follow in their footsteps,” he says.
Capell notes that the CC men’s soccer team has now had four members earn similar academic honors over the last four years, including the Jim McKay Award, Fulbright, and Watson Fellowship in addition to the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.